Photo ofthe SS Oriana berthed in Sydney Harbour and waiting for 19-year old me to board on a stormy, windy September 20, 1963, the day I "set sail" for North America. 50 years ago!

The SS Oriana berthed in Sydney Harbour and waiting for 19-year old me to board on a stormy, windy September 20, 1963, the day I “set sail” for North America. 50 years ago!


My salty old Latin teacher, Miss Butler, would surely have been able raspily to proclaim that the infinitive jubilaré means “to shout for joy,” and that our noun jubilee is derived from jubilaré which actually dates back to the Hebrew word for a ram’s horn trumpet.

Unfortunately for one uninterested young bloke (me), there was not much shouting for joy in her Parramatta High School classroom. However, this month I am thankful for Sally Butler who hammered endless conjugations into us because I know that the first person singular, present tense, active voice for that verb is jubilo, meaning “I shout for joy.”

And I am presently doing a little shouting for joy here and there because the faithfulness of God has made September 2013 to be a Golden (50-year) Jubilee month in my earthly life.

My widowed mum and my sister later emigrated to Canada, but the last time I ever saw my dad, Carl Nicolson, on earth was that 50-years-ago morning when he climbed up onto some pilings at the outer end of the pier and stood alone waving to me until distance and mutual tears put us out of sight from each other. Yes, on that trans-Pacific voyage on the SS Oriana I was leaving everything and everybody I knew for places and people unknown.

Scroll forward five decades… Wednesday night of this week took Karen and me to one of our regular assignments, a 180-mile (290 kilometer) round trip to Denton, Montana where Denton, Coffee Creek, and Hobson teens meet for youth group. We had not seen most of the young people and sponsors since June at C – N Camp. What a hug fest when several precious kids came running over to us with open arms as we entered the church basement! After supper we enjoyed shout-for-joy worship and lesson time during which I taught from Mark 4:1-20 and concluded by challenging us all to be “Mark 4, verse 20 people.” We then closed the meeting by prayerfully singing together:

“Jesus, Jesus, Lord to me—Master, Savior, Prince of Peace; Ruler of my heart today—Jesus, Lord to me.” 1

As I accompanied the singing with my guitar, I could look at all the youth and sponsors’ beautiful faces, voices of praise and commitment belonging to a second and third generation of people to and with whom we have been privileged to minister. I can still see and hear that Wednesday night song in a little Montana town, and my heart is filled with praise to God for this Jubilee month of memories, reflection, and hope for the immediate and eternal future.

“My Jesus, my Savior, Lord there is none like You,
All of my days, I want to praise the wonders of Your mighty love.
My Comfort, my Shelter, Tower of refuge and strength.
Let every breath, all that I am, never cease to worship You.

Shout to the Lord all the Earth let us sing,
Power and majesty, praise to the King.
Mountains bow down and the seas will roar,
At the sound of Your Name.

I sing for joy at the work of Your hands.
Forever I’ll love You, forever I’ll stand.
Nothing compares to the promise I have in You.” 2

Show 2 footnotes

  1. By Gary McSpadden & Greg Nelson © 1981 Yellow House Music, CCLI License No. 1735873 to Intermountain Christian Fellowship
  2. By Darlene Zschech (Hillsong Australia) © 1993 – CCLI License No. 1735873 to Intermountain Christian Fellowship


An ex-patriate Australian living full-throttle in Big Sky Country until he “lays rubber all the way into Heaven!”

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6 Responses to Grahame’s September Jubilee Celebration

  1. Darla Seifert Baliko says:

    Hugs to you, Grahame, for yet another month rich in memories and ministry. How might my life -and the lives of so many others – be different today had you not set sail those many years ago. Thank you for your love, service, and sacrifice, including waving goodbye to your dad that stormy September day. I’m sure you look forward to a heavenly reunion with him!

  2. Bubette says:

    I’m so thankful that God put you on that ship–and that despite the pain and heartache you’ve experienced by leaving your homeland and father then, you’ve been attentive to God’s leading and have had such a tremendous spiritual impact on the lives of so many! You and Karen are marvelous examples of God’s love and faithfulness, EVERY single day of your lives. Thank you for listening to “that still small Voice” and for working fervently and faithfully to the furthering of God’s kingdom. 🙂 I love you both and miss you tons! You’re in my thoughts and prayers often. 🙂

  3. Laura says:

    What a hard time for you and for your dad……But…..we are forever grateful for you and Karen’s sacrifice’s to follow God’s call here in Montana! What wonderful plans God had for you to reach lives for Him here. We’re praying for you…….. “And now, may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, equip you with all you need for doing His will.” Hebrews 13:20

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